How to Choose an Exterior Paint Colour

Dawnview residential estate painted by Spectrum Painting
How to Choose a Painting Contractor for Your Townhouse
April 21, 2016
paint tips
Prepping a Wall for Painting
August 1, 2016
Exterior paint colour

Choosing an exterior paint colour is a big decision for any homeowner. The wrong house colour can ruin your home’s looks, curb appeal, and perceived value – not to mention the money wasted, and what the neighbours might think! The right colour choice, on the other hand, complements a home’s style and garden design style, creates a great first impression, and increases the property’s value. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right paint colour for your home…

Your home’s architectural style

When choosing your exterior paint scheme, your first reference is your home’s architectural style. An exterior paint colour needs to complement this style, be it thatch, Tuscan, Cape Dutch, Natal Veranda, ranch-style ‘ramblers’, and so on. Certain architectural styles not only lend themselves to certain colours, but there are architectural conventions to bear in mind, too – just as a Cape Dutch homestead would look out of character painted in earthy Tuscan tones, a Tuscan home wouldn’t look right painted bright white! Instead, Tuscan and other Mediterranean-style homes look best painted with palettes which tone in with the colour of the roof tiles, with lighter colours highlighting features such as window frames and columns. With thatch homes, the roof is the main attraction – go for a lighter shade than the colour of the roof – tan, cream or dusty browns. Natal Veranda architecture also boasts feature roofs, which are green in colour, with cream or white walls and green trim. The rule of thumb – find your home’s prominent feature, and work with emphasising that. If in doubt, consult an exterior designer or architect, or ask us about our complimentary colour consultations.

  • Read this book: House Colours: Exterior Color by Style of Architecture by Susan Hershman

Your garden style

Your house and garden look best when they work together, so do try to interlink the design themes. Take a cue from the colours prevalent in the surrounding landscape, flowers and foliage – a home in an indigenous garden setting lends itself to warm yellows, creams and apricots, with earthy tones highlighting features like window and door frames. Homes in more formal garden settings, like English Country or British Colonial, suit greys and blues, with white trim; while whites and off-whites are nicely offset by tropical gardens, particularly where the foliage brushes the walls. Earthy sandstones work on Mediterranean and Karoo architecture, referencing the colours of the dry landscapes of those regions. Contemporary homes in an urban setting can go brash and bold – greys, reds and yellows to give it an edge!

Time to experiment and test

Once you’ve decided on the exterior paint colour scheme, pop down to the paint shop for a few sample pots. Painting swatches on your exterior walls will give you a better idea of what the paint will look like, since paint colour can look quite different in sunlight to how it appears under shop lights. Some other points to consider: darker colours do fade, especially in the harsh African sun, whereas lighter colours stay fresher looking for longer. Lighter colours also make smaller houses look bigger, whilst bigger homes are able to carry bolder, darker colours. Lastly, if you live in a residential complex, bear in mind that your Body Corporate may have rules about which paint colours are permissible, particularly those complexes which strictly adhere to a set architectural style, so check with them before you commit to a colour.